Ozark County resident reports shooting at man, then tending his wounds after striking him

Photo: Robert Morris

An Ozark County man, 54-year-old Robert Morris of Thornfield, has been arrested after he allegedly attempted to “run a man off” by hitting him in the face with a gun and discharging a weapon at the victim’s vehicle. The vehicle’s back glass was reportedly shot out, its tires punctured by shotgun pellets and damage sustained on multiple places on the car from the weapon’s discharge, including the driver’s side seat and headrest, where the victim was presumably sitting as he attempted to flee. Morris would later report cleaning the man’s facial wounds.

The Ozark County Times reports Morris was arrested Dec. 23, four days after the alleged incident and faces charges of first-degree attempted assault, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon, meaning shooting at a motor vehicle or person. He could face five to 15 years in prison on the attempted assault felony, with it categorized as a violent offense. If convicted, Morris would be required to complete at least 85% of the sentence before he would be eligible for parole.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Morris called the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office on the morning of Dec. 19 to report he had a confrontation at his residence along County Road 829 with another man he identified to law enforcement. Morris said the man “had pulled a gun on him,” and he had to run him off.

Morris reportedly called dispatch a second time, a short time later, saying the man had returned to his property, and he wanted to speak with a deputy.

Morris allegedly told a deputy at the scene he had received a phone call from the victim’s girlfriend, who said the couple had been arguing. She reportedly asked Morris to pick her up and give her a ride.

Morris told the officer he had to fix a flat tire in order to retrieve the woman. While he was fixing the flat, the victim reportedly drove up Morris’ driveway. Morris said when he saw the man, he went inside the house and got his 20-gauge pump shotgun.

The Thornfield man said the victim had a .22-caliber rifle resting in the car in a barrel-up, “ready for poaching,” position.

He said the victim never pointed the gun at him or waved the weapon in a threatening manner.

Morris said he pointed his weapon at the man and thrust it forward twice, striking the victim in the face.

Morris said the man reportedly attempted to “speed away.”

He said he then shot at the tires of the victim’s vehicle and through the back window of the car, shattering the glass.

Morris said the man continued driving, attempting to flee, but lost control of the vehicle a short distance from the Morris residence.

Morris told the officer he went to the crash scene, made the victim him hand over his rifle and helped him get his vehicle unstuck. Morris said he checked and noticed the .22 was not loaded and did not have a magazine in it. Morris said he took the man back to his residence and cleaned the wounds on his face where the Thornfield man had struck him earlier with his gun.

At some point, the victim was allowed to leave.

The deputy contacted the victim’s girlfriend who advised the man was in transit to Ozarks Medical Center in West Pains to receive treatment for the injuries he had sustained during the confrontation with Morris.

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